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International Monetary Fund

This 2001 Article IV Consultation highlights that Latvia has enjoyed a strong economic performance since the last Article IV Consultation in June 2000. Real GDP growth was 6½ percent in 2000 and accelerated to 8¾ percent in the first half of 2001; growth has been led primarily by investment. Inflation has remained low at 3 percent in 2000 and 2001. Market sentiment toward Latvia remains favorable, as evidenced by the relatively low yield spread on Latvia’s first Eurobond and by the successful issue, in November 2001, of a second Eurobond.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Recent market turbulence in Southeast Asia has again prompted concerns about the impact of capital account liberalization and whether its costs outweigh its benefits. Stanley Fischer, First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, argues, in a paper presented at a seminar on Asia and the IMF, that countries have much to gain from liberalization. Clearly, he notes, there are dangers inherent in premature and disruptive liberalization, but these can be minimized through an orderly adaptation and strengthening of the appropriate polity and institutional infrastructures. The IMF is well positioned to assist its members with this task, and a new amendment to the IMF’s Articles of Agreement will facilitate the organization’s work in this area.

Mr. Adalbert Knöbl and Mr. Richard D Haas
The paper is an economic history of the IMF’s involvement in the Baltic states. It describes and analyzes the initial economic stabilization; the period of consolidation and recovery; the effects of the Russian crisis of 1998; and the current growth phases of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. There is also an assessment of cooperation with the Fund based on interviews with a number of ex-officials. The major conclusion is that the Baltics have been so successful because of their early commitment to change the stabilization and reform policies needed for successful transition, and their ownership of their IMF-supported programs.
Roberts Zīle and Inna Šteinbuka

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the design of conditionality in Fund-supported programs from 2002 to end-September 2011, with an emphasis on recent years. It focuses on the content and application of program conditionality—especially structural conditionality—in relation to the 2002 Conditionality Guidelines (the "Guidelines"), the Staff Statement on Principles Underlying the Guidelines on Conditionality, and subsequent revisions to operational guidance on conditionality. The analysis is based on the five key interrelated principles guiding the design of conditionality: national ownership of programs, parsimony in program-related conditions, tailoring to country circumstances, effective coordination with other multilateral institutions, and clarity in the specification of conditions. In particular, the principle of parsimony requires that program-related conditions be critical (or the minimum necessary) to achieve program objectives and goals, critical for monitoring program implementation, or necessary for implementing specific provisions under the Articles of Agreement (the "criticality criterion"). Beyond assessing compliance with these guidelines and principles, the paper also examines the implementation of conditionality